2020, a year full of chaos and uncertainty. Our little family found ourselves at home, all of us, all the time. My college guy who had already flown the nest came home, and of course was disgruntled with his college zoom life (who wouldn’t be). My younger two boys were dealing with non-traditional school and zoom. My husband and I found ourselves working mostly remotely from home. What a weird time it has been. Food shortages became an issue in stores and food prices began to increase (and are still going up).I began to stress over how I was going to feed three men and a little boy. Worry is not good, and very few good things come from worry.Worrying about things out of our control is useless and unproductive. I struggle with worry, to try to keep my worry from exploding into anxiety, I often ask myself questions: Can I control the situation? Are there things I can do to change the situation? Can I gain anything from my worry? Most of the time, when I ask myself these questions I have to admit the answer is no, and I need to mentally dump the worry (easier said than done).However, in this particular situation, when I asked myself these questions I realized I could produce more.
The spring of the year, I did my usual garden planning but began to expand. I made bigger plans to grow more and preserve more.My husband was on board and actually helped me plan some projects for our homestead. At this point our homestead was not producing any sources of protein, except for beans.We rely heavily on protein in order to keep my homesteader husband’s diabetes under control. After research we decided we could expand our homestead and raise our own meat birds from chicks. We also started to raise meat rabbits. My husband began to enjoy doing chores around the homestead and could see the benefit of us producing. Becoming more invested in our homestead, he started overseeing straighter rows, organized planting areas, and most importantly, learned that hoeing was great exercise.The work put in by my homesteader husband was made a marked difference.Hoeing has always aggravated my lower back issues and I avoid the process. My preferred method of weeding is shoveling and pulling the weeds. Like most of our lives and marriage, the combined efforts by both my husband and I made for a very productive garden. Like Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
The 2020 season also brought more time to reflect. Returning home and moving into my parents’ house has been emotionally complicated for me. When I first lost my parents in 2017, I longed to return home. I felt like if I didn’t “go home” that I would lose more of them. I wanted to be close to the place that reflected their hearts. However, after coming home and walking through so many grief stages, I began to see being home as a burden. There were times I wanted to leave and move to some place where no one knew my name. I felt like escaping might give me an easy out from my grief. I had yet to be thankful for my home or really see it as my own yet. I made cosmetic changes but I still felt like I was cooking in my Mom’s kitchen and sitting in my parent’s living room. 2020 brought us all home and under one roof, I spent more time praying. I prayed a lot for protection, peace ,and provision. I found that while I was praying my heart became more grateful. I began to be thankful for my home, which was big enough to hold my family of five and handle all of us zooming and etc. I became thankful for the garden soil which is rich and productive. There was a moment while I was in the garden picking okra and sweating. It wasn’t a fun moment. The okra plants made me itch and I was hot and sweaty. A pleasant breeze blew across my garden and I remembered my Mom always stopping while sweating in the garden and saying, “Thank you God for the breeze!” So of course without too much thought, I thanked God for the breeze. Out of the one act of thankfulness I felt my heart fill up with gratitude and began thanking God, for the place he had blessed me with. Even if I came to this place because of tragedy, the place is still a blessing to me and my little family. Emotionally it was a turning point for me. After three years on my little homestead, back home, I could finally be thankful for where I was.